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Amphibian conservation: clarifications to comments from Andreone

April 19, 2017

We appreciate the comments from Andreone (2016) regarding our proposed alternative strategy for addressing the amphibian crisis. Andreone recognizes the utility of an Incident Command System approach but doubts the feasibility of implementation at an international level. We stated in our original article, however, that ‘the feasibility of our suggestion is debatable, but our point is that radically different approaches are necessary to effectively manage the largest extinction event in modern history’ (Muths & Fisher, 2015). There are examples of where such top-down strategies are being applied; e.g. for the brown tree snake Boiga irregularis (Stanford & Rodda, 2007), and biosecurity planning for Micronesia and Hawaii (NAVFAC Pacific, 2016). Another example is presented by Andreone. In Madagascar a community-wide conservation plan has been developed complete with prioritization of specific actions (Andreone, 2016). As with any top-down strategy, challenges will surface, especially when making decisions that affect economics. We note this caveat in our article, and Andreone points out such issues in Madagascar, where there are mismatches in priorities between biodiversity conservation and civil needs. Our suggestion is that a new paradigm needs to be considered given the gravity of amphibian decline, and one option may be to take a global approach focusing on specific, major threats. Application of an Incident Command System would not necessitate competition with, or emasculation of, local conservation priorities or actions.